Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, who chose to be known as Le Corbusier (October 6, 1887 – August 27, 1965), was a Swiss-French architect, designer, urbanist, writer and also painter, who is famous for being one of the pioneers of what now is called Modern architecture or the International Style. He was born in Switzerland, but became a French citizen in his 30s.

He was a pioneer in studies of modern high design and was dedicated to providing better living conditions for the residents of crowded cities. His career spanned five decades, with his buildings constructed throughout central Europe, India, Russia, and one each in North and South America. He was also an urban planner, painter, sculptor, writer, and modern furniture designer.

He was born as Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris in La Chaux-de-Fonds, a small city in Neuchâtel canton in north-western Switzerland, in the Jura mountains, which is just five kilometres across the border from France. He attended a kindergarten that used Fröbelian methods.

Le Corbusier was attracted to the visual arts and studied at the La-Chaux-de-Fonds Art School under Charles L'Eplattenier, who had studied in Budapest and Paris. His architecture teacher in the Art School was the architect René Chapallaz, who had a large influence on Le Corbusier's earliest houses.

In his early years he would frequently escape the somewhat provincial atmosphere of his hometown by travelling around Europe. About 1907, he travelled to Paris, where he found work in the office of Auguste Perret, the French pioneer of reinforced concrete. Between October 1910 and March 1911, he worked near Berlin for the renowned architect Peter Behrens, where he might have met Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius. He became fluent in German. Both of these experiences proved influential in his later career.

Later in 1911, he journeyed to the Balkans and visited Greece and Turkey, filling sketchbooks with renderings of what he saw, including many famous sketches of the Parthenon, whose forms he would later praise in his work Vers une architecture (1923) (towards an architecture).

Against his doctor's orders, on August 27, 1965, Le Corbusier went for a swim in the Mediterranean Sea at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France. His body was found by bathers and he was pronounced dead at 11 a.m. It was assumed that he suffered a heart attack, at the age of seventy-seven.